FIFA must stop quibbling over Qatar workers

Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:30pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA needs to stop ducking its responsibility in relation to the labor rights situation in 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar and start looking for solutions, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

"We are still hearing protestations about the level to which FIFA is responsible but this is missing the point," James Lynch, Amnesty's researcher for migrant workers in the Gulf, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"FIFA wants to put itself lower in the pecking order than other actors but it's an argument which is not worth investing time in.

"We need to move on to what FIFA will do and we would like to hear FIFA speaking on behalf of the workers and address what needs to be done."

Qatar has been under fire for its treatment of migrant workers in the construction industry after Britain's Guardian newspaper reported in September that dozens of Nepali laborers died last year.

Amnesty International and the International Trade Union Confederation have also criticized the treatment of migrant laborers in Qatar, fearing the problem could worsen with the extra construction work needed for the 2022 World Cup.

Qatari World Cup organizers produced a 50-page document in February outlining stricter measures which would apply to contractors involved in building work for the tournament,

However, this stopped short of addressing the kafala, or sponsorship, system where workers need their employer's permission to leave the country.   Continued...

Journalists are reflected in a logo at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann